Team-BHP Scoop: Ashok Leyland Dost Express hits showrooms

Ashok Leyland will launch the Stile MPV, a badge engineered version of the Nissan Evalia, on the 8th of October. Soon after, the Hosur based Indian utility vehicle maker will begin selling the Dost Express, a passenger carrier version of the Dost mini pick up truck. Team-BHP has scooped images of the Dost Express at an Ashok Leyland Small Commercial Vehicle (SCV) showroom in a western city of India. 

Team-BHP has also gathered specific information related to the Dost Express, in terms of the people carrier's seating capacity, engine options and body shell design. The Dost Express features a fiber passenger cabin that's mounted onto the Dost's chassis, which comes with a driver cabin as a factory fit. The half cowl equipped Dost is sent to body builders (situated in various parts of the country and each serving a specific region) contracted out by Ashok Leyland.

The body builder fits the fiber passenger shell, which has been designed by Ashok Leyland, to the Dost's half cowl and dispatches the Dost Express to the dealer, who then sells it to the customer. The fiber body shell encloses space for 12 passengers in a 4 seat layout. The 4 seats are placed opposite to each another in a square layout. Entry to the passenger cabin is through a single door located on the left side of the Dost Express.

The driver and co-passenger sit in a separate cabin. Passengers sitting in the rear cabin can communicate with the driver through an opening between the two driver and passenger cabins. A high roof and large sliding windows give the Dost Express an airy feel. However, the passenger carrier is strictly a no-frills option meant to serve as a basic people mover with minimal comforts on offer. A tube light in the passenger cabin is the only creature comfort offered on the Dost Express.

The Dost Express is likely to feature an on-road price in the whereabouts of 6-7 lakh rupees. The 1.5 liter-triple cylinder turbo diesel engine of the Dost, which outputs 58 Bhp-157.5 Nm, will be carried over to the Dost Express without any changes. A CNG variant of this engine on the Dost Express is likely in the coming months as Ashok Leyland has lined up the CNG powered Dost mini pick up truck for a launch shortly.

While the pick up truck version of the Dost is equipped with air conditioning as an option for the driver and co-passenger, such an option might not be offered on the no-frills passenger carrier version of the Dost. The passenger carrier variant will sit between the Tata Ace Magic/Mahindra Maxximo and the Tata Winger in terms of positioning. The Dost is a re-engineered version of the Nissan Vanette pick up truck sold in Japan. Ashok Leyland and Nissan have collaborated in order to develop and launch a range of small commercial vehicles in India. 

Power to the people